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Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Clueless Red Sox tweet captures everything wrong with baseball in 2020

The Boston Red Sox have gone out of their way to make themselves wholly uninteresting in 2020. Between making pitcher Martin Perez their biggest free-agent acquisition and trading away homegrown superstar Mookie Betts and 2018 World Series hero David Price, the team begged fans to look away and watch something else in 2020.

But for one brief and regrettable moment Tuesday, the Red Sox captured the attention of the baseball world. They did so with this incredibly dumb — and now deleted — tweet…

The tweet is a take on a meme that usually features a person hitting the “upgrade” button on a keyboard. The Red Sox replaced the word “upgrade” with “reset.”

The text on the tweet read “iykyk,” which stands for, “If you know, you know.” The Red Sox were referencing the team resetting the luxury tax in 2021. By not spending much in the offseason and offloading a few players at the 2020 deadline, the Red Sox were able to reset the penalty the team would pay if it exceeds the luxury tax — also known as a the competitive balance tax — in 2021.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 02, 2020 at 09:45 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 02, 2020 at 10:36 AM (#5973847)
everything wrong with baseball in 2020

I wouldn't wish corona virus on anyone.

Except the person(s) who thought this tweet was a good idea.
   2. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 02, 2020 at 11:16 AM (#5973858)
Having written a blog post yesterday entitled "Job Done!" on just this subject...yeah it was a dumb tweet. It's worth noting as you look forward but it's not something to be celebrated.
   3. Rough Carrigan Posted: September 03, 2020 at 08:22 AM (#5974190)
Every other sport works under a harder cap than baseball. And they talk about the ramifications of it constantly. Heaven forbid that baseball teams mention the implications of the luxury tax now and then.
   4. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 03, 2020 at 02:01 PM (#5974266)
I love the Red Sox, and I didn't think this was so bad. As #3 suggests, basketball, football, and hockey teams openly make deals regularly that are all about expiring contracts, cap space, and trying to set up for a run at a "max contract" free agent class in a few years. Teams tank on purpose all the time in other sports in order to jockey for draft picks. Teams will taker on terrible contracts with awful players in order to either also get draft picks with them (like the Browns did on a few occasions a few years ago), or to get an expiring contract that will create a ton of cap room the next year.

Baseball has a different set of rules in terms of a salary "cap" relative to these other sports, but it's the same idea. We needed to reset the luxury tax penalty, and dump some salaries, in order to get the team in a place to reset in 2021 and 2022.

You know what baseball should do? They should let you trade your draft picks.
   5. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 03, 2020 at 02:10 PM (#5974270)
So, the Red Sox use Turkish keyboards?
   6. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2020 at 03:33 PM (#5974311)
I think the official page of an organization, more or less blatantly admitting to tanking, has to be taken as a serious issue. We all know what is going on, but actively claiming it, is a different story.

Contrary to what the resident in chief thinks is a proper way to act, people do expect a level of professionalism from organizations. And this tweet is two things, one not professional, and arguably a second thing, in that it's probably at some level, a violation of the CBA.... Mlb lost a huge case where they refused to sign free agents... this is an admission from an organization that they intentionally refused to pay their players, in a way.... it's very possible this tweet could be used by the MLBPA to challenge the Red Sox.... note not a lawyer(I have a soul) but I can absolutely see how this could be used a piece of evidence that teams are not trying to compete.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: September 03, 2020 at 03:52 PM (#5974317)
a violation of the CBA.... Mlb lost a huge case where they refused to sign free agents... this is an admission from an organization that they intentionally refused to pay their players, in a way.... it's very possible this tweet could be used by the MLBPA to challenge the Red Sox....
I think you are way off. The Red Sox and other teams have expressly stated publicly the desire to go under the luxury tax threshold. People don't need the tweets as evidence, it's all out in the open.

Also, I'd guess the MLBPA would challenge the low-spending teams, not a high-spending one. They would be ecstatic if every team "refused to pay their players" like the Red Sox do.

That being said, the tweet is stupid.
   8. Itchy Row Posted: September 03, 2020 at 04:00 PM (#5974321)
It's stupid, but I was expecting something racist, promoting a conspiracy theory, or otherwise offensive. "Stupid" is the best case scenario for any tweet from 2020.
   9. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2020 at 04:15 PM (#5974324)
I think you are way off. The Red Sox and other teams have expressly stated publicly the desire to go under the luxury tax threshold. People don't need the tweets as evidence, it's all out in the open.


Agree, but for the most part, my point that this adds an arrow to the arsenal for a potential argument being made from MLBPA side of the equation. They don't like the luxury tax any more than the owners, the owners put it out there as a half measure to create a salary cap that the players union would accept... when there are teams like the Red Sox who are basically arguing "they would spend more, if they were allowed too, but because of the tax, they have to act differently." This plays into the hands of the MLBPA, who again don't want the luxury tax in the first place.
   10. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 03, 2020 at 04:18 PM (#5974325)
#^: The Red Sox aren't refusing to sign free agents - in fact, their problem was that they signed a ton of free agents top dollar, and several of them got old, got injured, or underperformed, and in order to be able to spend on *new* free agents in 2021 and 2022, they had to get under the salary tax threshold ASAP.

Think of it this way: The reason there is a luxury tax structure that gets highly punitive if you exceed it several years in a row is to *prevent* teams with deep pockets from making lots of personnel mistakes, and then just papering over them with more spending that the less wealthy teams cannot afford to do.

The reason the Red Sox were never going to be the high bidder for Mookie Betts' services after this season was not because they are unwilling to spend money...it is because they could not without incurring serious penalties...because the team made some bad decisions on spending the last few years: Eovaldi is overpaid - he gets hurt all the time, and they still gave him almost $80 million. Price was overpaid. Sale was out for the whole year. Pedroia is getting $13M a year to never play again.

So the team needs to reset their payroll under the luxury tax threshold to avoid more problems for years to come. If they were trying to be like the Marlins after they won their first World Series, you can bet Boston would have traded Bogaerts for 60 cents on the dollar last week; Vazquez would be gone; and Bradley would have been traded, too.

The team is trying to get championship-good again as fast as possible, and that includes competing for the best free agents where appropriate. But none of that stuff is happening until they get under the threshold ASAP.
   11. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 03, 2020 at 04:23 PM (#5974327)
The team is trying to get championship-good again as fast as possible, and that includes competing for the best free agents where appropriate. But none of that stuff is happening until they get under the threshold ASAP.

The players should negotiate it out of the CBA then or go on strike because the luxury tax threshold is acting as a de facto salary cap.
   12. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 03, 2020 at 04:37 PM (#5974331)
The players should negotiate it out of the CBA then or go on strike because the luxury tax threshold is acting as a de facto salary cap.


That is almost certainly what will happen at the next CBA after the 2021 season.
   13. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 03, 2020 at 09:03 PM (#5974406)
the luxury tax threshold is acting as a de facto salary cap.


Of course it is. That's the whole point of it.

We were running up to another strike pretty quickly, but I wonder if the fallout from the coronavirus is going to change things. Before it looked like they were going to fight over the corpse of the golden goose. Not it's not so clear that there is a golden goose. There's been a lot of optimism lately, but there's still a possibility that there won't be a vaccine next year. And if baseball 2021 repeats baseball 2020, the luxury tax no longer looks like a pressing issue.
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2020 at 09:39 PM (#5974433)
Ultimately what is going to happen is that a salary floor will be implemented with a salary cap...nobody will be happy.
   15. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 03, 2020 at 10:45 PM (#5974446)
That is almost certainly what will happen at the next CBA after the 2021 season.
If you mean a strike, I agree. If you mean the luxury tax disappearing, I do not.

Ultimately what is going to happen is that a salary floor will be implemented with a salary cap
Only if it's a laughably low and ineffectual salary floor.
   16. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 03, 2020 at 10:54 PM (#5974450)
I'm just here to remind you that there IS a salary floor. Which is laughably low and ineffectual, but it exists.

Having the floor linked to minimum player salaries does have some distorting effects, however. For one thing, it means that a team can't sign a FA and then pack the team with warm bodies just to fill out the roster. Those warm bodies have to make at least 500k. But if you were determined to be really cheap, it also might discourage you from signing that FA, since doing so forces you to go over the floor. A salary floor with no individual minimum wouldn't have this effect: you could sign your FA and then sign guys making 7.25/hr if you wanted. So, in theory at any rate, the way that MLB has structured its salary floor should push money from FAs to rookies or low-end players (the guys making the minimum).
   17. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 03, 2020 at 11:46 PM (#5974463)
Benji - yes I expect a work stoppage of some kind.
   18. John Northey Posted: September 04, 2020 at 01:29 PM (#5974520)
I hope the players push for a higher minimum - $1 million at least. That would discourage the slashing of payroll a bit as your team would spend $26 million no matter what (26 man roster) so not signing a $5 mil player wouldn't save as much as it does now. The luxury tax might need to remove the reset provision so teams like the Red Sox don't play these games for a season to save a bit. Perhaps link the cap to league payroll or something (spend double the average and get hit, triple and get hit really hard). In 2019 it was $134 million (via BP) for average, thus $268 for taxes which no one hit. Maybe 150% of the average so at $201 for a low level tax (10% or something), and higher ones until you get to 100% at double (thus getting Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs last year). Perhaps a similar one for low payrolls - go below 50% of the average and pay the spread to a pool that gets divided up by player (so below $67 mil thus getting the Rays) or below 75% get a partial tax (below $100.5 mil thus hitting Royals, A's, White Sox, O's, Pirates, and Marlins as well).
   19. villageidiom Posted: September 04, 2020 at 01:49 PM (#5974524)
The luxury tax might need to remove the reset provision so teams like the Red Sox don't play these games for a season to save a bit.
Why not? I mean, it's clunky and whatever, but isn't the whole point of competitive balance measures to provide incentives for large-revenue teams not to maintain a crazy-large payroll for an extended period? Like, Boston doing what they did this year is pretty much exactly what competitive balance measures were built to do.
   20. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 04, 2020 at 01:58 PM (#5974528)
The luxury tax might need to remove the reset provision so teams like the Red Sox don't play these games for a season to save a bit.


The players are crazy if they accept this. As much as they don't want the Sox spending a year artificially below the luxury tax limit what you are proposing would almost certainly result in teams never crossing the threshhold. I suspect that rather than the Sox/Yankees/Dodgers/whoever saying "well we are over the cap let's keep spending" the result would be those teams' owners saying "if you even think about going over the cap I'll fire you and have your entire family eliminated."

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